CLEVELAND (Reuters) – As hundreds of thousands of American home owners fall behind on their mortgage payments, more people are turning to short-term loans with sky-high interest rates just to get by.While figures are hard to come by, evidence from nonprofit credit and mortgage counselors suggests that the number of people using these so-called “pay day loans” is growing as the U.S. housing crisis deepens, a negative sign for economic recovery.
“We’re hearing from around the country that many folks are buried deep in pay day loan debts as well as struggling with their mortgage payments,” said Uriah King, a policy associate at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).
A pay day loan is typically for a few hundred dollars, with a term of two weeks, and an interest rate as high as 800 percent. The average borrower ends up paying back $793 for a $325 loan, according to the Center.
The Center also estimates pay day lenders issued more than $28 billion in loans in 2005, the latest available figures.